PET/CT predicts survival in patients undergoing primary surgery for esophageal cancer
Preoperative staging for esophageal adenocarcinoma is suboptimal for predicting outcomes when compared with pathological data. The aim of this study was to assess if the quantitative values obtained by preoperative 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) are independent prognostic indicators for survival in patients with resectable adenocarcinoma of the esophagus undergoing surgical treatment without neoadjuvant therapy. Patients were identified from a prospective database, survival analyses were undertaken using log rank and Cox method. The median follow-up was 44 months (range 18-61 months). Between November 2002 and November 2005, 45 consecutive patients underwent FDG-PET followed by surgery. The median age was 72 years (range 38-82 years). On univariate analysis of overall survival and disease-free survival, preoperative FDG-PET maximum standardized uptake value (SUV(max); P= 0.008 and P= 0.015, respectively) and postoperative pathological stage (P= 0.001 and P= 0.001, respectively) as well as postoperative histological grade (P= 0.001 and P= 0.001, respectively) were significantly associated with outcome. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that only the postoperative pathological variables were independent predictors of outcome (Wald 11.81, P= 0.001). Preoperative FDG-PET SUV(max) is associated with outcome after esophageal adenocarcinoma resection but remains less accurate than postoperative variables. A high FDG-PET SUV(max) could be used to identify a high-risk population who would benefit most from neoadjuvant therapies.